Sunday, 8 December 2013

Discovering Rainbows after the Storm Passes

Before and After Pictures of our new kitchen...thanks to Carlo and his cousin Claudio - the Kitchen "G-ds"

It's been 6 weeks since my last post...but I've had good reason for being absent...we moved!  Wow, what an ordeal!

I have co-ordinated many moves in my lifetime, for my own home, my parents' home and my office, but none were as overwhelming as this one...

I think the difference was that this was the first move where my mother wasn't there to turn to for help, an ear and an "oooh, aaaah".    She would love this house.  There are so many nuances that remind me of my parents' homes...the swinging door that connects the dining room and kitchen; the dark wood floors; the double ovens...little reminders of a simpler time that I took for granted would never end.

For weeks on end every waking moment has been consumed with packing and unpacking, cleaning, renovating and setting up a new household, all the while trying to keep up with work, school, extra-curricular and family commitments.

There was little time to cook, no time to bake, and absolutely no time to blog!  So...we learned to live on simplified meals that were fast and easy to prepare, a fair bit of take-out fare, and store-bought baking.  Not that there's anything wrong with that - in fact, it's pretty much how I grew up once Mom went back to work full-time - but it's just not what my family has ever known.

By the time we took possession of our new house on November 8th until we closed the sale of our old house on the 18th, meal preparation came to a standstill, and take-out became the norm.  My kids, who once thought of take away meals as a treat, bemoaned mealtime - when you think about it, here's really not a lot of choice: pizza, burgers, chicken, subs, Chinese.  Finally, we found this lovely Italian bakery/restaurant around the corner, and occasionally turned to them for dinner and lunch alternatives. And thankfully my father came up on a regular basis with dinner - pizza! - my favourite!  We really appreciated not having to worry about cooking after a long day of cleaning and unpacking.

And before we knew it, Chanukah was upon us...we semi-celebrated, managing to unpack our Chanukiyah and candles, makes latkes and eating the most incredible sufganiyot that Dad brought.  The bigger celebration will be had next weekend when Davie, Lena and Abby return from vacation abroad, and I bake latkes and Chanukah cookies - better late than never!

So...I'm back...with depleted energy but growing enthusiasm.  Because once the tornadic activity of the move passed, I was left with a beautiful rainbow:
  • I rediscovered that after 18 years of marriage Carlo and I are amazing partners...we work well together, complimenting each other's strengths and bolstering one another when necessary.  He has worked tirelessly to transform this house in just 4 short weeks, making each room he paints/renovates more beautiful than the last.
  • I learned just how special our kids really are...that we're OK parents and they're amazing people.  They've been team players through it all, packing, unpacking, cleaning, moving and building furniture - yes, Sara took charge and literally built their end tables, TV stands, desk and part of a bed, with Becca as her "right-hand man" every step of the way!  Even sucking it up when dinner didn't get put down to them until 8:00 p.m. some nights, and never a complaint.
  • I made my mother smile...I told her about our new kitchen; about the swinging door from the dining room, the double ovens and all the wonderful amenities...and she smiled.
  • I realized that even though they may not say it all the time, my family really appreciate all I do. They appreciate my "clean-freak" standards, and have become clean freaks themselves, and they value my efforts to always provide healthy home cooking and baking, recognizing that "our way" isn't necessarily "everyone's way".  

Becca came home this weekend and told me that her health teacher was marking an assignment about food and eating. She asked Becca if she ate all the foods she listed in her work.  Becca told her that she did, and then went on to tell her that I make my own pasta, bake my own baking with reduced sugar and rarely purchase frozen foods. It's sinking in...

I guess that we really do lead by example, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see that the lessons I once learned from my mother, and those I've learned in recent years about the connection between diet and disease, are being learned by our kids.  Sara is a fantastic, healthy cook, and Becca is right behind her.

Stay tuned for my healthier, baked latke recipe, with step-by-step pictorial, coming next week.

Until next time, I wish you all a wonderful week filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  I know we could sure use some!  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!